You hear this all the time on TV, on your CNNs and NBCs.

"We're pro family", "family values", Focus on the Family...

This is, of course, all fine and dandy...for some.

Look around the Focus on the Family website (family.org). You get happy little images of a nuclear family-wife, husband, two kids. So far, so whitewashed and wholesome. Lots of articles on health and so on ("It's time to wake up to the realities of childhood snoring. If your child snores, it may be affecting his academic performance" - no shit, this was on their front page) and in the About Us section, we get a nice little blurb: "Focus on the Family began in 1977 in response to Dr. James Dobson's increasing concern for the American family." Well, yeah, so what's wrong with the American family? It doesn't explain until you dig a little deeper.

It's obvious from their "principles" page that they're a Christian organisation. So blatantly obvious that anyone being in doubt about this may as well seek help. Then all the sick stuff comes in.

FOTF likes to shout about how much it likes to brainwash kids. "Brio Magazine is a style-setting magazine read by more than 188,000 teen girls for tips, advice and spiritual guidance...It presents positive role models and emphasizes making right choices. For more than 13 years, Brio has been teaching, entertaining and challenging teen girls toward a healthy self-concept and closer relationship with Jesus Christ."

So this is, in fact, propaganda. From the Christian right, who want to give this magazine to Christian right families as envisaged by FOTF who want to pass it down to their children, who will hopefully become yet another part of the Christian right. This is frankly scary.

Even scarier are some of the "Focus on your Child" articles. "Helping Boys Become Men, and Girls Become Women" (http://www.focusonyourchild.com/develop/art1/A0000683.html)

The list of headings here says it all: "Is my child becoming homosexual?", "The facts about homosexuality" (apparently it really is a disorder, and not something someone chooses), "The Homosexual Campaign Against Children" (evil homosexuals, all they wanna do is make your kid effeminate and gay). They seem to liken homosexuality to sexual abuse, which is patently crap.

So far we've learned, using their own material, that pro-family groups are anti-gay. Well wait, there's more!

Go to the FAQ page (you can find it on the front page). Search for "sex". See what you find!

Should I teach my child proper condom usage? (so they, y'know, don't get AIDS and stuff)

FOTF says: I would not, because that approach has an unintended consequence. By recommending condom usage to teenagers, we inevitably convey five dangerous ideas: (1) that "safe sex" is achievable; (2) that everybody is doing it; (3) that responsible adults expect them to do it; (4) that it's a good thing; and (5) that their peers know they know these things, breeding promiscuity. Those are very destructive messages to give our kids.

So what they're saying is, you should not teach kids how to use the only method of contraception which significantly reduces risks of AIDS transmission and teen pregnancy because promiscuity is evil. And that sex before marriage is "irresponsible". Lovely.

Iā€™m concerned that my spouse ā€” or someone I know ā€” might be using pornography or looking at Internet pornography. Can Focus help me?

Of course, pornography is evil, and those who watch even a second of it should be imprisoned, as they are obviously sinners. If you're married, I suppose it's not a good thing. But "someone I know"? You don't just go up to someone and go "I think you're looking at porn. Stop it, sinner!".

We're told that sex education programs reduce the incidence of teen pregnancy. Do they work?

FOTF says: Hardly! As the safe sex ideology has been taught in the nation's schools, the rates of unwed pregnancy and abortion among teens have skyrocketed. A comprehensive study conducted by Stan Weed and Joseph Olson at the Institute for Research and Evaluation confirms that the Planned Parenthood approach actually worsens, rather than lessens, the problem of adolescent sexuality.

Yup, I've always thought that kids knowing how to have sex makes them go out and go "let's fuck!".

Puh-lease. Hopefully through reading all this you'll understand exactly what people mean by "pro-family" and realise what they stand for. It's one thing to know about it and believe it, but its another to not know the whole truth and follow it blindly.